A 55-year-old man who fled the scene of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash in Studio City that killed a musical collaborator of singer Christopher Cross was sentenced Monday to three years formal probation.

The Defendant, who earlier pleaded no contest to hit-and-run driving resulting in death, was also ordered to complete 18 months of mental health counseling as part of the sentence negotiated with prosecutors.

Vehicle Code section 20001, also known as felony hit-and-run involving death or injury, is a wobller in California.  That means that the District Attorney may prosecute the crime as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the conduct and facts of the case.  A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and no less than 90 days of county jail and no more than 1 year in county jail.  This is a 2-point violation on your driver’s license and you are also subject to payment of restitution.  A felony is punishable by the same fine, 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison, restitution and the same point violation on your driver’s license.

If you have been contacted by local law enforcement regarding a hit-and-run, or have already been charged or booked on hit-and-run charges, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Consult with an attorney before speaking with law enforcement, before walking into court and before you consider pleading guilty because “I did it, what’s the point of fighting the case?”  There are oftentimes many ways to resolve these types of cases, including, but not limited to, civilly compromising the case with the victim in order to have your case dismissed and establishing that you did not legally flee the scene of the accident, among others.

Do yourself a favor and consult with attorney Ross Erlich, for free, to learn what options are available to you before you make your first move.  Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles county, San Bernardino county, Ventura county, Orange county and Riverside county.

A man suspected of driving the vehicle that struck and killed a man using a walker turned himself into police on Monday afternoon with his attorney.

According to police, the victim was a man in his 40s who was walking on Ventura Boulevard near Gaviota, outside of a crosswalk, in the early morning hours when he was stuck by the suspect’s SUV.  Police allege the suspect then fled northbound on Haskell Avenue.

The suspect turned himself into the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division later in the day with his attorney and was booked and being held on felony hit-and-run charges.  His bail was set at $50,000.

If you have been involved in, or arrested for, a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, I would recommend first reading our office’s previous blog detailing what are the first steps to take and how to protect yourself.  It is important to know that you are under no obligation to make any statements to the police without having your attorney present.  Remembering this fact, and actually following this advice, has helped prevent criminal charges from ever being filed against many of our office’s clients.  It is just as important to know that if you are cooperative (through your attorney, of course) with law enforcement, there can be ways to resolve the matter outside of the courtroom.

Felony hit-and-run charges are much more serious.  There is the possibility of state prison time, a felony conviction on your criminal record and a significant impact on your California driver’s license.

If you or someone you know has been involved in, or arrested for, a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Torrance, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Culver City, Pasadena or Van Nuys, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation and case evaluation.  Making a call early in the process just may end up saving you from criminal charges.

If you have lived in Los Angeles for any amount of time, let alone visited for more than a day, you know that LA has its fair share of cars and traffic.  What you also probably know is that with that amount of traffic, Los Angeles’ hit-and-run incidents far exceed the national average.  In fact, in 2009, 48% of crashes in Los Angeles were hit-and-runs, compared to a national rate of 11%.

ABC’s ’20/20′ ran a piece which focused on Los Angeles Police Department Detective Felix Padilla, who has been working in LAPD’s traffic division for over 10 years.  Padilla told ABC that his division alone sees an average of 8,000 hit-and-run incidents a year and that in 2013, there have already been 16 fatal hit-and-runs incidents.

The problem for law enforcement in a hit-and-run investigation is that an arrest and prosecution hinge on eyewitness testimony and many do not want to cooperate with the police.  Padilla talked about how the LAPD can impound the car during an investigation, but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t have the driver identified.

Another problem for the LAPD is Los Angeles’ large number of undocumented immigrant residents, many of whom drive a car even though they cannot legally obtain a license.  If they get into an accident, many fear criminal prosecution and deportation and decide to flea the scene.

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, it is important that you contact an attorney before answering any questions by law enforcement or before you make any statements.  Many times people are scared of what has happened and will try to “talk their way out” of getting arrested or charged with hit-and-run, which never happens and often leads to incriminating statements used in the incident report that prosecutors see.  What you should do is allow your attorney to communicate with law enforcement on your behalf to not only avoid those pitfalls, but see if there is a way to avoid any charges being filed.

If misdemeanor hit-and-run charges do end up getting filed, it is important that you talk to your attorney about the possibility of a civil compromise or getting your hit-and-run charge reduced to a non-point traffic infraction.  Many times your attorney can work with the victim outside of the courtroom to achieve these desired results and a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges.

If you have been arrested or charged with a hit-and-run in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Downtown, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills or Burbank, contact attorney Ross Erlich 24/7 for a free consultation.

Nathan Campbell, accused of ramming pedestrians on the Venice boardwalk over the weekend and killing one, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to one count of murder, 16 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 17 counts of hit-and-run.

Campbell was in custody in front of Airport Court felony arraignment judge Keith Schwartz who set bail at $1.48 million.  Campbell is currently being represented by a Los Angeles County Public Defender who told press he does not believe his client intended to kill anyone.

For those unfamiliar with this incident, Campbell was arrested after police say he intentionally drove his car around barriers on the Venice boardwalk and aimed his car at pedestrians.  One woman was killed as a result of the impact.

It has since been discovered that Campbell has had arrests in Colorado and Florida for shoplifting and reckless drivings under the influence of alcohol.  Further details reveal that Campbell may have been living out of his car and has ties with the homeless community in Malibu.

Campbell is facing some serious charges at the Airport Courthouse and, if convicted, could be facing life in prison.

If you have been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon or hit and run in the Airport Courthouse, it is important for you to consult with an attorney before making any statements to the police or other law enforcement personnel.  Communicating (through your attorney) with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office early may help you either avoid having any charges filed against you or get a reduction in what would have been originally charged.  Sometimes hit-and-run’s can be resolved through a civil compromise which permanently suspend criminal proceedings against the accused.

Serious charges requires a serious criminal defense attorney.  If you have been charged with a crime in the Airport Court, CCB, Criminal Courts Building, Pasadena Court or any other court in Los Angeles County, contact attorney Ross Erlich 24/7 for a free case consultation.

A 70-year-old man is in custody after police say he failed to stop his car after hitting a woman and her toddler with his SUV in the North San Fernando Valley last week.

Witnesses at the scene told police officers that the toy car the toddler was in was pushed by the man’s car for approximately one block before bystanders flagged down and stopped the driver.

The man was driving his car without a license and was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run, a violation of California Vehicle Code section 20001.

Witnesses at the scene also told officers that it appeared the man was unaware that he was pushing the toy car with the toddler inside of it and that he only drove approximately one block.

California Vehicle Code section 20001, more commonly known as felony hit and run, is a “wobbler” in the state of California.  This means the prosecutor can charge this crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor, usually depending on the facts of the case and the suspect’s prior criminal record.

If the hit and run is charged as a misdemeanor, the defendant is looking at a maximum of 1 year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.  If the accident resulted in death or some other serious injury, jail time is usually always sought.

If the hit and run is charged as a felony, the defendant is looking at a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 and between 16 months to 3 years in state prison.  If there was death or serious injury, typically the state prison commitment goes up to between 2 to 4 years.

If you have been in an accident in California, you are required by state law to stop your car, identify yourself and provide your license, insurance, registration or any other relevant documents to the other driver.

If you have been arrested for, or charged with, a hit and run in the Los Angeles area, it is important to contact an attorney before making ANY statements to law enforcement.  After years of experience handling hit and run cases, I have only seen these statement come back to hurt people’s cases.  Contacting an attorney early on in the process can help facilitate a civil compromise or other possible resolution to your case which can avoid a conviction on your record and points on your license.

If you have been involved in a hit and run in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Burbank or any other part of Los Angeles County, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation.


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